What's New in Health Care Reform provides an overview of the past week’s news, updates, and commentary in health care reform and utilization management.
Tom Price, Obamacare Critic, Is Said to Be Trump’s Choice for Health Secretary
If President-elect Donald J. Trump wanted a cabinet secretary who could help him dismantle and replace President Obama’s health care law, he could not have found anyone more prepared than Representative Tom Price, who has been studying how to accomplish that goal for more than six years. Mr. Price, an orthopedic surgeon who represents many of the northern suburbs of Atlanta, speaks with the self-assurance of a doctor about to perform another joint-replacement procedure. He knows the task and will proceed with brisk efficiency. Mr. Trump has picked Mr. Price, a six-term Republican congressman, to be secretary of health and human services, Mr. Trump’s transition team announced. Via NY Times.
Trump to Pick Seema Verma for Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services: Transition Official
President-elect Donald Trump is set to name Indiana health policy consultant Seema Verma as his pick for administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, a transition official told Reuters. Via Reuters.
Lawmakers Reach Deal to Vote on Cures, Mental Health Bills
The bills will be combined into a single package and tucked into the shell of a suspender measure that already passed both chambers, enabling lawmakers to expedite consideration of the legislation. The compromise comes after bill sponsors have been pushing for well over a year to get both measures over the finish line in Congress. A final deal is not completely in hand yet, though, despite the release of the new language. A senior Democratic aide said talks are ongoing among congressional leadership. Via The Hill.
A Battle to Change Medicare Is Brewing, Whether Trump Wants It or Not
Donald J. Trump once declared that campaigning for “substantial” changes to Medicare would be a political death wish. But with Election Day behind them, emboldened House Republicans say they will move forward on a years-old effort to shift Medicare away from its open-ended commitment to pay for medical services and toward a fixed government contribution for each beneficiary. The idea rarely came up during Mr. Trump’s march toward the White House, but a battle over the future of Medicare could roil Washington during his first year in office, whether he wants it or not. Via NY Times.
Governors Planning "Very, Very Active" Role in Obamacare Rewrite
State leaders are positioning themselves to have a key voice in a potential rewrite of Obamacare next year. With the election of Donald Trump, Republican leaders in Congress have promised a dramatic overhaul of President Obama’s signature policy. The National Governors Association, a proudly bipartisan group representing every state, is now eyeing a more public—and more aggressive—role alongside GOP leaders as they attempt to gut the massive federal program. Via The Hill.
Back to the Future: Insurance Pools for High-Risk Patients Could Be Revived
Now President-elect Donald Trump and Republican Congressional leaders say they want to revive high-risk insurance pools for the sick or uninsurable. But some California health officials and policy experts say that would be a big step backward—to a state program that offered long waits for coverage, high prices, limited benefits, and few health plan choices. Via Kaiser Health News.
$6.3 Billion Measure Aims to Cure Ailing Health Care Policies
In one of the most sweeping and rare bipartisan acts of this Congress, lawmakers will move this week on a $6.3 billion bill to increase funding for research into cancer and other diseases, address problems in the nation’s mental health systems and enact potentially far-reaching regulatory changes for drugs and medical devices. The bill, known as the 21st Century Cures Act, is the product of years of debates over health care policy issues, including how to track the federal drug regulatory structure with the fast-paced world of biotechnology, streamline the unwieldy mental health care system, and stem the widespread and intractable problem of opioid drug abuse. Via NY Times.
Health Industry Breathes Easier as Post-Obamacare Path Stabilizes
Hospitals and health insurers are gaining confidence that their nightmare scenario—millions of Americans instantly losing health insurance once President-elect Donald Trump delivers on a promise to "repeal and replace" Obamacare—is looking more like a bad dream than becoming reality. The early view from the health care sector still includes an end eventually to President Obama's signature health program. Via Reuters.
Price’s Appointment Boosts GOP Plans to Overhaul Medicare and Medicaid
President-elect Donald Trump’s selection of Rep. Tom Price to head the Department of Health and Human Services signals that the new administration is all-in on both efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act and restructure Medicare and Medicaid. Price, a Georgia Republican who currently chairs the House Budget Committee, was among the first to suggest that not just the ACA but also Medicare are on the near-term agenda for newly empowered Republicans. Via Kaiser Health News.
Beyond Birth Control, Women Could Pay More for Insurance again under Trumpcare
As the prospect began to sink in of losing access to free contraceptives if the health law is repealed or replaced, women have reportedly been racing to get IUDs or stockpile birth control pills before President Barack Obama leaves office. But birth control is just the tip of the iceberg, advocates say. There are a number of other women’s health benefits that are also at risk. Via Kaiser Health News.